Donor Profile: Eleanor Light

Scottsdale resident Eleanor Light is used to being a trailblazer. She was one of very few female chemists when she began her career in research on top secret government projects, her diligence and expertise helping smooth the way for women in the workplace. From this hazardous work she was hired by an early technology conglomerate, where she advanced from technical staff to marketing manager, becoming the only woman in the company to hold stock options. Although motherhood ended her technical career, Eleanor went on to explore the world while running a successful travel agency with her late husband, Irwin. Eleanor is still active in the travel business today.

She also helped blaze trails for PBS. When WMHT in Schenectady, NY began airing as an independent educational television station in 1962, Eleanor and Irwin Light became some of their first supporters. “We were very active in the community,” Eleanor said – still true today. “And since that day, we were supporters of PBS.”

Today, Eleanor donates to Arizona PBS through an IRA Charitable Rollover, which allows her to make the donation directly from her retirement plan. In this type of rollover, gifts up to $100,000 are excluded from federal income. “It’s a way of enjoying your donations while you’re alive so you can see the benefits and how they actually multiply,” Eleanor said.

Eleanor’s gift makes a difference to the programming she enjoys most. “I watch ‘Horizon,’ always,” she said, noting that she’s particularly interested in current affairs and culture. She’s a key supporter of Curate, the Arizona PBS Arts and Culture Fund. “And also science,” she added. “I’m out there looking for comets and I was never interested in that before!”

If you would like to learn more about Eleanor’s life and career, visit to hear her tell her story. Learn more about how you can make an impact via an IRA Charitable Rollover by contacting Mardi Gradolf at (602) 496-8888 or by email at [email protected].

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